Here’s a message you probably won’t hear at church this morning: You don’t need “church.”
That’s right, you don’t need it. At all.
You can live and do everything Jesus commanded and modeled without “church.”
In fact, often better.
With a steeple on nearly every corner, if churches are making such a positive difference in the world for Jesus, why do we see an increasingly far less positive world and why do we see increasingly far less of Jesus?
“Church” doesn’t work, that’s why. Not with a “gospel” of belief-dependent salvation from a torturous god-designed hell. Not to mention sin-management, conditional love, a codependent god, reaching the so-called “lost,” and converting and colonizing the so-called “world.” That’s a gospel that is no Gospel at all.
It makes people worse, not better; more fearful, not at peace; more self-centered, not humanity-serving. In fact, it’s evil. Anti-Christ to the core.
Ninety-five percent of Christianity… anti-Christ.
There, I said it.
“Church” was never the invention of Jesus — you are the invention of Jesus. You are the church. Each one of us, individually. The mind of Christ is within you. Enough Love to change the planet is within you.
Everything of the Universe is within you. Yet so often, “church” blinds, poisons, restricts, distorts and kills this Light that is within all humanity. A black hole to all that is good, holy and right. It exchanges individual, spiritual freedom for communal conformity; divine affirmation for organizational condemnation; and hope and peace for tribal shame, fear, control and human abuse.
More often than not, “church” is the disease, not the cure. And we wonder why the world doesn’t get any better, especially Christians.
You don’t need “church” to find “like-minded” people.
You don’t need “church” to validate or authenticate your faith.
You don’t need “church” for spiritual growth and maturity.
You don’t need “church” to maximize your impact through a “team.”
You don’t need “church” for accountability or support.
You don’t need “church” to find and live your life with joy, significance, and purpose.
If “church” is a place you go, a service you attend, a creed you follow, or a people you gather with, you’ll never get there, you’ll never find it, and you’ll never have it.
Instead, Church is you: You loving your neighbor, selflessly serving the world, feeding the hungry, freeing the captive, welcoming the stranger, mending the brokenhearted, defending the least-of-these, and proclaiming the unconditional divine favor, affirmation, equality, and inclusion of all into All.
It’s you taking care of the needs in front of you. It’s you resisting and undoing systems of injustice, violence, greed and oppression. It’s you being you in ways that honor Love and authenticity.
It’s you disconnecting from a self-esteem that’s shackled to personal performance and production. It’s you closing the Bible — searching for a perfect thread, answer, defense, meaning, truth or justification — and instead opening the Light within you revealing the perfect One, Mind, Spirit, and Universe.
That’s the Church we need.
It’s you. You, and only you.
You are the renewal God is bringing to the earth.
The church we need can’t be contained in a building.
The church we need can’t be confined to a creed.
The church we need can’t be conformed by fear.
The church we need can’t be caged into the Bible.
The church we need can’t be compromised by racism, greed, power and hate.
The church we need can’t be coerced into judgment, pride, supremacy and ignorance.
The church we need can’t be controlled by leaders.
The church we need can’t be chaperoned by patriarchy.
The church we need can’t be converted through guilt.
The church we need can’t be calculated in numbers.
The church we need can’t be commissioned by vision.
It needs no defense.
It needs no pastor.
It needs no committee.
It needs no membership covenant.
It needs no budget.
It needs no conferences, books or celebrity.
It needs no light systems, branding or worship choruses.
It needs no gathering of the like-minded.
It needs no teamwork to make the dream work.
The church we need is… you.
Everything else is the “church” we don’t need. Everything else is the “church” that isn’t Church at all.
In fact, for far too many, “church” is the crutch and disguise that keeps them from actually following Jesus. It’s the spiritual pacifier of the spiritually restricted and resistant.
For what does most every church and church leader hate and fear the most? The revelation and reality that you don’t need “church” at all. That you can live and do everything Jesus commanded and modeled without “church.” In fact, often better. And very likely, not until you’ve walked away from all of it.
It’s true. You don’t need “church,” and God doesn’t either.
Grace is brave. Be brave.
A former Evangelical pastor of more than 20 years, Chris Kratzer writes to call out the evils of white right-wing Christianity and chase them out of the shadows. His dramatic journey away from conservative Evangelicalism has become a powerful inspiration and guide for many. His writing is purposed on being a voice for the spiritually oppressed that they may know that they are loved and affirmed, and that they have one who stands in fierce solidarity with them. Author of “Stupid Sh*t Heard in Church: And the Truth That Will Wipe You Clean” and “Leatherbound Terrorism,” he blogs at www.chriskratzer.com.